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A life online: Personal vs. professional persona in portfolios, social media, and other online public fora

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A life online: Personal vs. professional persona in portfolios, social media, and other online public fora

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This slideshow is from Cheryl Ball's Visiting Scholar All-Campus Address, presented as part of her Spring 2016 tenure as Visiting Scholar in the University of Findlay's Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Writing program. In it she uses her online portfolio websites and social media accounts as examples of how to (and how *not* to) craft a professional online persona.

This slideshow is from Cheryl Ball's Visiting Scholar All-Campus Address, presented as part of her Spring 2016 tenure as Visiting Scholar in the University of Findlay's Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Writing program. In it she uses her online portfolio websites and social media accounts as examples of how to (and how *not* to) craft a professional online persona.

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A life online: Personal vs. professional persona in portfolios, social media, and other online public fora

  1. 1. A LIFE ONLINE Personal vs. Professional Persona in Portfolios, Social Media, and Other Online Public Fora Dr. Cheryl E. Ball West Virginia University http://ceball.com @s2ceball
  2. 2. My very first online, academic portfolio, circa 1999–2000
  3. 3. job portfolio @ MTU ‘03 3rd-year review @ USU ‘06 tenure portfolio @ ILSTU ‘09 professional portfolio @ 2012
  4. 4. Me, being silly with flamingos, c. 2009
  5. 5. MY JOB PORTFOLIO c. 2003
  6. 6. job portfolio prototype (2003)
  7. 7. job portfolio prototype (2003)
  8. 8. job portfolio prototype (2003)
  9. 9. job portfolio prototype (2003)
  10. 10. FEEDBACK ON MY PORTFOLIO “I was on a hiring committee for a tech writing job…with three other people…. I think one would have thought it was 'cool' and a good thing, but the other two people would probably have said something like 'can we take her seriously?’” (S. Krause)
  11. 11. FEEDBACK ON MY PORTFOLIO “My big problem with the designs is that they don't seem professional; they seem more like a personal web site, mostly due to the graphics, I think.” (M. Bauman)
  12. 12. FEEDBACK ON MY PORTFOLIO “I like version 5. I know. It's probably the most boring, but you're talking about hiring committees. Think about how you're going to sell yourself. Are you trying to be 'professional' or 'artistic'?” (B. Maid)
  13. 13. FEEDBACK ON MY PORTFOLIO “…you're already infamous for pink flamingoes, so roll with it ” (E. Wright)
  14. 14. job portfolio prototype (2003)
  15. 15. job portfolio prototype (2003)
  16. 16. job portfolio prototype (2003)
  17. 17. job portfolio prototype (2003)
  18. 18. FEEDBACK ON MY PORTFOLIO “I guess you don’t want to work anywhere that doesn’t have a sense of humor.” (M. Cooper)
  19. 19. FEEDBACK ON MY PORTFOLIO “I guess you don’t want to work anywhere that doesn’t have a sense of humor.” (M. Cooper)
  20. 20. FEEDBACK ON MY PORTFOLIO “A little new media goes a long way.” (A. Wysocki)
  21. 21. FEEDBACK ON MY PORTFOLIO “Your website should reflect the sort of job you want to get and if you are particularly looking for a new media job, then one of your new designs makes a lot of sense. Your portfolio will be a key piece in telling your story.” (J. Kalmbach)
  22. 22. My 2003 job portfolio
  23. 23. My 2005 academic portfolio
  24. 24. My 2006 Tenure Review portfolio
  25. 25. tenure portfolio ’09 @ ILSTU
  26. 26. Enter social media…, c. 2008–09
  27. 27. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy
  28. 28. Cat Photos: What the Internet is Made For
  29. 29. Enter social media MISTAKES…, c. 2008–09
  30. 30. Professional Tips of the Day!
  31. 31. Professional Tips of the Day!
  32. 32. Professional Tips of the Day!
  33. 33. Professional Tips of the Day!
  34. 34. Professional Tips of the Day!
  35. 35. Professional Tips of the Day!
  36. 36. Professional Tips of the Day!
  37. 37. Professional Tips of the Day!
  38. 38. Professional Tips of the Day!
  39. 39. Cat Photos: What the Internet is Made For
  40. 40. Professional Tips of the Day!
  41. 41. How do you establish your personal/professional persona in online spaces?
  42. 42. Thank you. Dr. Cheryl E. Ball http://ceball.com

Editor's Notes

  • I’ve been on the Internet since 1993, and made my first stake as a Web author when I published my first webpage (not even a web site) in the fall of 1997, the year I entered my MFA program at Virginia Commonwealth University. Sadly, I do not have that first site, but if you google me, my first portfolio—long abandoned—still exists and many of the links are still active. That’s what excellent archiving and IT management will do for you, when you yourself don’t know any better than to preserve (or wisely delete, in some cases) your professional processes made public.
  • I’ve been through many iterations of professional portfolios since I began life as a masters students 20 years ago. And, like my very first webpage, not all of them have been saved for posterity, which is a bit of a shame for someone who studies digital rhetoric, as each major redesign of my professional portfolio has come with a rhetorical reason but at a technological cost.
  • Before I walk you through some of the rhetorical choices I made in my portfolios over the years, I want to thank Dr. Christine Tulley and the Masters in Rhetoric and Writing program for sponsoring my visit as a guest scholar today. It was in 2009 that Christine first invited me to Findlay University to talk about e-portfolios, particularly in regards to digital tenure portfolios. That was the first time I gave a version of this talk, and I had yet to hear about my tenure decision that year. Seven years, tenure, and two schools later, I offer this retrospective with some further perspective on the choices I made in creating an online presence through portfolios and social media, in the hopes that my good (and bad) decisions will be of use to you.

  • Job market started in 2003. Had personal portfolio but not a professional one. (AUDIENCE)

    Sending prototypes to colleagues around the US to get some audience feedback (usabilty testing)
  • Bowling ball… ;)
  • Competing audience responses: who are on search committees?
  • In response to the graphics, in particular… I also got varying feedback.
  • The differentiation between wanting to express my personality versus what senior colleagues in the field thought I should do started to become evident. I’m stubborn, so I chose to listen to the ones I wanted.
  • Like this comment by a fellow graduate student.
  • Using my business card for about 3 years by that point, and flamingos had been a featured element of my website since the fall of 2000.
  • In the end, I decided to take it as a compliment what one of my revered professors said to me even about my print portfolio,…..
  • ….which at the time (in 2003) was still the preferred method of receiving job materials.
  • ….which at the time (in 2003) was still the preferred method of receiving job materials.
  • I also took my major professor’s advice to heart and scaled back on the artistic intensity of my digital portfolio designs, but kept the flamingo for consistency.
  • Another response: from a guy I ended up going to work with…
  • So, this streamlined version is the one I used in 2003 for the job market.

    In preparing for my third-year tenure portfolio, I went back to all this feedback from nearly a decade ago and I realized that the same advice still holds true. Back then, I was designing in Dreamweaver (WYSIWYG/HTML editor), creating all the graphics by hand, trying to display myself as an academic in a field that was only beginning to respect digital technologies, and trying to create a presentation that would appeal to

    MYSELF
    MY FRIENDS
    - EMPLOYERS who wanted a computers and writing scholar.

    I wanted a portfolio that was both professional and personal and that would express my sense of academic style and my teaching and research interests in new media and design.

    **Mock Interview scenario** -- What IS my academic identity? Two jobs labeled “C&W”
  • At my first job, I had a minimal online presence in part because of the expanse of CMS usage there, so the portfolio reverted to a personal space again. But that didn’t last long.
  • In 2006, started using a blog (I could easily change it). So I created an online tenure binder where I put the equivalent of everything that needed to be in the print binder on a website.

    Third year review = good job-market timing

    “Shameless”: Tell story about job interview, people quoting my work.
    -- internal portfolio that had an unintended external audience.
  • When I moved schools, I needed to redesign again, in part to prepare my argument for using an all-digital portfolio for tenure

    -- new domain (GET ONE!)
    -- still using WP (doesn’t save designs = BAD; but EASY to set up)
    -- customized template interface (learned PHP and tweaked CSS) – still hearkening to flamingos.
    -- decided on an external audience that would also serve internal needs


  • I had starting using Twitter and FB the year before I went up for tenure, and the decision to use both was predicated strictly on professional needs, not social or personal ones.
    -- Twitter at conferences
  • -- FB for editorial outreach (Kairos in the 21st century)

    .. And yet what did I mostly post on FB?
  • A LOT of cat photos. (pre Instagram)

    And I friended all of my work friends. And eventually I found a few of the HS friends I wanted to get back in touch with. (Remember, this is 17 years after I graduated from HS – so for people my age, FB is actually a great thing for re-engaging and reflection on our youth and re-evaluating who we are and who we have become in the world.)

    And because of this type of reflection, I am strict about who I will friend on FB:
    -- tell story about conference introductions
    -- tell story about students not understanding difference between the hats I wear (not even friending grad students I work with)
    … you have to earn my trust and deserve my respect in order to see pictures of my cats!
  • But I am also circumspect about WHAT I post on FB beyond the many, MANY cat pictures.

    -- tell story about illegal activity (what JOBS look for online)
    -- tell story about STUPID TENURE complaining

    So I had to learn to back off of the unprofessional – I was becoming a top scholar in my field, and people looked up to me, so if I complained, even in a small way, it had unintended consequences. We should all be so lucky! So here’s what I did…
  • I created PToDs. Started with a webtext author…

  • I created PToDs. Started with a webtext author…

  • I created PToDs. Started with a webtext author…

  • I created PToDs. Started with a webtext author…

  • I created PToDs. Started with a webtext author…

  • I created PToDs. Started with a webtext author…

  • I created PToDs. Started with a webtext author…

  • I created PToDs. Started with a webtext author…

  • Challenges of being good at your job is knowing how to prioritize. Still had to be myself on social media….
  • without getting into trouble.

    Living in Norway at the time, created Cherylsays.no – created a meme.
  • Memes in written form…

  • Memes in image form
  • cards
  • Turning Nos into Yesses. – part of this is knowing What to Say Yes to when and in following through on the things you commit to. Once you have established credibility, you can branch out.
  • redesign of tenure portfolio, post-tenure & again on the 2012 job market
  • And, because I couldn’t resist playing up my personality even amidst making the design more professional and updated to mid-2010s design standards,
  • I have 6 head shots that rotate, each with different expressions. I have always said that people need to know what they’re getting when they get me, and my portfolio is how I express my work all in a single place.
  • I’ll end with this question

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